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LIVE MARKETS-Opening snapshot: Gains in defensives on dovish ECB pick

* STOXX 600 up 0.3%, driven by defensive sectors * FTSE 100 driven by JD Sports, "sin" stocks * STOXX food & beverage index hits fresh record high July 3 - Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Thyagaraju Adinarayan. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: thyagaraju.adinarayan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net OPENING SNAPSHOT: GAINS IN DEFENSIVES ON DOVISH ECB PICK (0729 GMT) European stocks have opened 0.4% higher, led by strong gains in defensive sectors such as utilities, food & beverage (which hit a fresh all-time high) and real estate. The pan-European STOXX 600 hit a 2-month high, wiping off losses from the trade war escalation in May. Meanwhile the euro zone's banking index is sliding 0.6% after Christine Lagarde was named as the next ECB president, a pick interpreted as dovish and meaning lenders will have to wait even longer for a rate rise. Britain's FTSE 100 is outperforming other European indices, driven by "sin" stocks and a further slide in sterling. PM candidate Boris Johnson's pledge to launch a review into so-called sin taxes on products high in salt, fat and sugar are helping soft drinks makers rise. Drinks makers Britvic and Fevertree are up 0.7-1% while sweetener maker Tate & Lyle is up 1.6%. As expected, Sainsbury's slipped 2% after its first-quarter sales were hit by weak demand for clothing and general merchandise. It's quickly recovered, though, last trading down just 0.3%. Sportswear retailer JD Sports is among top risers on the FSTE 100 after the company said it's confident of meeting profit expectations. (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** ON OUR RADAR: UK RETAIL, CYBERSECURITY FIRMS, CHIPS, BAYER (0641 GMT) European stocks are set to open flat to slightly higher amid general optimism that incoming ECB president Christine Lagarde will maintain the central bank's dovish stance, keeping interest rates lower for longer, while the euphoria following the U.S.-China trade talks fade. U.S. President Trump's appointments for Fed announced overnight are also considered dovish. Her appointment may pressure banks though. Banks, retail, chipmakers and cybersecurity firms are making headlines this morning. UK-based grocer Sainsbury's shares are seen under pressure after reporting a third straight quarter of declining underlying sales, while JD Sports is being called 2% higher after the sportswear retailer said it saw "encouraging" like-for-like sales growth and is confident of profit meeting expectations. Traders expect UK cybersecurity companies Avast and Sophos to rise 3% on Broadcom's plans to buy Symantec. Chip stocks are back in focus amid confusion over the easing of the U.S. ban on Huawei. A senior U.S. official told the Commerce Department's enforcement staff that China's Huawei should still be treated as blacklisted, a marked difference from Trump's statement over the weekend. A pledge by Boris Johnson to launch a review into the so-called sin taxes on products high in salt, fat and sugar if he wins the contest for leader are likely to boost shares in UK drinks makers, ABFoods, Fevertree, AG Barr and Britvic. Some dealers see the shares rising as he would look into whether or not the levies "unfairly hit those on lower incomes" even amid pressure to put taxes on high salt and fat content. More headlines: JD Sports says confident of profit meeting expectations U.S. judge to slash $80 million Roundup jury verdict-court hearing CBRE Group to buy Telford Homes for 267.4 million pounds Serco agrees to 19 mln pound fine over electronic tagging fraud (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** LAGARDE'S APPOINTMENT, HUAWEI DRAMA, DEUTSCHE BANK (0628 GMT) European stock futures are rising marginally, but the big news today is Christine Lagarde's nomination as the next ECB chief. We're looking out for reactions in European banking stocks. "Lagarde is a dovish pick and likely to continue in the footsteps of Mario Draghi in her willingness to use the tools at the ECB's disposal to further monetary goals," JPM economists write. "As a seasoned crisis-fighter, Lagarde will share Draghi’s taste for aggressive and innovative monetary policy, especially as her appointment means the more hawkish Bundesbank President Weidmann misses out.... lower for longer, NIRP, coordinated easing = buy gold," writes a trader. The rally in chip stocks so far this week could come to a grinding halt as a senior U.S. official told the Commerce Department's enforcement staff that China's Huawei should still be treated as blacklisted, a marked difference from Trump's statement over the weekend. Otherwise, it's been dull on the corporate news front. Deutsche Bank shares are sliding 0.8% premarket on a Wall Street Journal report the troubled German lender held talks with Citigroup, BNP Paribas and others over the possible sale of parts of its equities business. British supermarket group Sainsbury's reports the third straight quarter of declining underlying sales, particularly hurt by weak clothing and general merchandise markets. And Purplebricks Group says it will pull out of the U.S. market in the latest setback for the struggling British online estate agent which is already preparing to exit Australia. Key headlines: DB held talks with Citi, BNP on shedding chunk of equities business -WSJ Sales at UK's Sainsbury's fall for third straight quarter Purplebricks says to pull out of U.S. business Vivendi urges Mediaset to revoke loyalty share scheme Amazon to add over 2,000 jobs in Britain this year U.S. govt staff told to treat Huawei as blacklisted Roche says one-dose Xofluza flu drug as good as older Tamiflu in kids (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** EUROPE STOCKS SEEN OPENING FLAT TO SLIGHTLY HIGHER (0520 GMT) European stocks are set to open flat to slightly higher as the euphoria from U.S.-China trade truce fades. The pan-European STOXX 600 index has risen 1.8% over the last three days. Financial spreadbetters IG expect London's FTSE to open 9 points higher at 7,568, Frankfurt's DAX to open 7 points higher at 12,534, and Paris' CAC to open 2 points lower at 5,575. Big news from last evening: France's Christine Lagarde was nominated to replace Mario Draghi as the new head of the European Central Bank. "The nomination of Lagarde as head of the ECB should provide some relief given that Jens Weidmann (hawkish) will not be replacing Mario Draghi," Credit Suisse analysts say. Let's see how the European banking stocks react to the news. (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Helen Reid, Josephine Mason and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)